The Beginning: New Village, New Festival
The first Buffalo Grove Days was held in 1962.
At that time, Buffalo Grove only had about 2,000 residents, so it was a much smaller festival. In fact, it was only a day long! It started with the parade at 1:00 and ended with fireworks at 9:00. The original goal was to give residents something fun to do that would keep them in town over Labor Day Weekend.
The first few Buffalo Grove Day celebrations featured some events that current residents would recognize: like the Buffalo Grove Days Parade, and some that no longer take place: like a horse show, sky divers, and a water fight between four local fire departments.
Janet Sirabian, Village Clerk, remembered those early events: “everyone attended, and you couldn't walk 5 feet without running into someone that you knew."
All of the events were organized and run by community volunteers. The Jaycees would set off fireworks from the golf course, residents made floats for the parade, and the volunteers ran the pancake breakfast. In fact, all of the food booths, from popcorn to beef sandwiches, were originally staffed and run by volunteers.
All that volunteer work paid off! Soon, the festival grew to be more than just one day, extending to all of Labor Day Weekend.
New events included:
- Dog show
- Race: Buffalo Grove Stampede
- Balloon launch (pictured here)
The heart of Buffalo Grove Days continued to be the community though. Community members chose the new events, worked to make them happen, and came out to support their friends and neighbors year after year.
Ever wonder how much all this stuff cost?
Take a look at an expense report from the 1963 and 1964 Buffalo Grove Days. They made some changes between those two years to cut expenses and increase profits. They ended up eliminating some of the activities and prizes offered.
You can click on the image on the right to make it bigger -->
Buffalo Grove Days Bloopers!
One year the skydivers jumped late! They had a scheduling mix up, and missed their scheduled jump for Buffalo Grove. The next year they jumped for free.